Wow....

"Bill Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft effective July 2008 to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and will continue to serve as the company’s chairman and an advisor on key development projects. Ray Ozzie assumes the title of chief software architect and will begin working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities, while Craig Mundie takes the new title of chief research and strategy officer and will work closely with Gates to assume his responsibility for the company’s research and incubation efforts.

View a live webcast of the press conference (1:30 pm PDT, June 15):
56 Kbps | 100 Kbps | 300 Kbps"

Update: 1:54pm:

Watching the webcast, Bill is stressing that he is not retiring today, but will continue as Chairman until July 2008. Personally speaking, I think Ray taking on the key technical, strategic and business leadership role for Microsoft as Cheif Software Architect is very, very good news.

Questions coming in from press now...

Update: 1:58pm:

Bill making clear that he and Ray will be doing the architectural work together over the next two years, then in July 2008 Ray will be soley reponsible.

Bill: "it's that start of a transition plan....July 2008 is the date of change".

He's not going away today. Reached decision a couple of days ago...

Update 2:07pm:

Bill's going on vacation....for seven weeks! (I missed when his vacation starts) He hasn't had a vacation longer than 2 weeks in the last 31 years.

Todd Bishop asks: "what's it going to be like to move on"? Bill says he has two years to figure that out :-) He won't be running the Foundation when he gets there.

Update 2:13pm:

Another press member asks about future of Microsoft in tech industry. "We're just at the beginning", says Bill...Steve chips in. "Ray, David V and Craig - will be taking a long term perspective".

Wow...

Webcast is over now.  Back to work...

Update 3:26pm

Jeff Sandquist points to Channel 9 video with Bill and Steve talking about all this...

Update June 16:

I then met Bill...